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May 25, 2009

Commentary: iPhone mania will outlast Palm Pre

Posted: 04:21 PM ET

Palm's newest entry into the smart phone battle, the Palm Pre, is scheduled to be released on June 6, just two days before the expected release of the iPhone's 3.0 software.

The Pre was first announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. It kind of stole the show - something I didn't expect at all. Before converting to the iPhone last July, I was a firmly entrenched Palm Treo user (and NOT the Windows version, either). Palm had been bought and sold too many times to count, the current operating system was long overdue for an overhaul. Quite frankly, I was over it.

Then came the Pre - and wow - could this really be an iPhone contender? It was to have all the things the iPhone was missing: a real keyboard - one that slides out from behind the phone - as well as cut and paste functions, multi-media messaging (MMS), global search, applications that run in the background and live notifications. Of course, Apple announced the 3.0 software, which is expected to bring the iPhone up to par on those features.

I haven't been able to get my grubby little hands on a Pre, but it does look cool. The so-called WebOS looks to be innovative - perhaps as innovative as the iPhones - and is designed to be used with only one hand.

And don't get me started on the optional inductive charger, which means you can put the phone right on top of the charger without connecting a cord (think Sonicare). Can the rest of the world please adopt and standardize this technology?

But will I buy one? Not unless someone else is footing the bill. I'm addicted to the iPhone for now and I just can't see giving it up.

What about you? iPhone vs. Palm Pre: which do you see coming out on top, or is there room for both on the stage? I can see the Pre garnering lots of support from the people who don't like the iPhone for one reason or another, or who prefer Sprint over AT&T. But can it compete with the momentum the iPhone has?

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Filed under: iPhone • Palm Pre • smartphones

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Jpcca   May 25th, 2009 5:15 pm ET

Same here. However I do not view the physical keyboard as a plus. I just cannot do without the virtual keyboard of the iPhone which is perfect for my multi-lingual need. Special characters are so easy to input with it that I have finally decided to only use the iPhone to respond to my French counterparts. I also find the Chinese character input very precise and natural to use.

Aaron   May 25th, 2009 5:21 pm ET

The iPhone will smother the Pre. If Palm wanted to stay as a company, they shouldn't of picked Sprint to launch the Pre with. Very stupid on Palms part.

Mike   May 25th, 2009 5:24 pm ET

I'm going with neither and saying that Android will rule the day once there are more phones available and more carriers support it. Unfortunately, Android is currently being held back by substandard hardware (the HTC G1 is nothing to write home about), and a carrier with very poor coverage area. Once these two things change, I expect Android to really take off.

IJ   May 25th, 2009 5:25 pm ET

I, for one, will never have an iPhone. Mainly because I do not like the notion of having a platform that is tied to one carrier, one I do not ever want to do business with. Or more accurately, one I'm already doing too much business with to begin with, mostly by necessity (I'm in AT&T territory with a third-party ISP on a DSL circuit).

I also want something that runs a much more open development platform, say I wanted to make changes to or port an existing application or even write one from scratch (the former is far more likely in my case) and do it on my own terms. Everything I've heard is that the Palm Pre is that platform I want. iPhone is not. While the Pre's carrier exclusivity is not that much of an issue for me (I'm with Sprint myself, also with a PalmOS Treo), I still am not a huge fan of that notion for others' sake. However, I AM a huge fan of a platform that will let me develop, or dare I say, "hack on"*, whatever I want without overarching carrier or phone vendor interference.

When it comes to the iPhone versus the Pre and what I'd like to do with either one, I'd rather get the Pre, which, given what I've heard of it, sounds like something that will work for and with me, while the iPhone and AT&T will work against me. Further, in my case, any iPhone I get will be paid for and maintained with someone else's money.


Fabrice Uzan   May 25th, 2009 5:32 pm ET

Pre looks and sound great... I would switch if I can get it for very cheap. not another $600 or so... I am a Sprint customer and want to stay with Sprint.... I would also want to make sure that I can connect to my corporate email without any additional fees and My Hotamail account at the same time.

Al   May 25th, 2009 6:04 pm ET

It would be nice to read a review from someone who has actually held one in their hand, made a phone call, sent a text message or e-mail and downloaded and used an app on that mythical beast also known as The Palm Pre.

What are they afraid of that they haven't had them reviewed yet?

mikhailovitch   May 25th, 2009 6:25 pm ET

I think there's room for both, with the Pre as a niche product.
Those who proclaim the Pre as a winner tend to ignore the fact that Apple is not a stationary target. While you have your head down beating Apple at its own game, Apple quietly moves on to a bigger and better playing field and scores more goals !

Briggs Ramos   May 25th, 2009 9:18 pm ET

Neither, I am tired of phones that are locked with the service provider, though the technology is new I am not switching my service from my current provider for a phone, if you ask me, I can tell you that i would ask the manufacturers to sell the phones unlocked, though at a higher price, to be used with any provider.

I hate to think that we came up to this, you want the new? get a 2 year agreement with a service that you either might not like or that you do not know specially when you are happy with your current service provider.

Dan Lambert   May 25th, 2009 10:06 pm ET

As a developer for iphone, android, and now pre... I have to say that the most friendly dev environment is definitely on the pre. I think if more developers head towards the pre, they will find a much better experience and it will pick up market share.

Plus, Sprint plans are so much better. So go buy a pre.

AlfieJr   May 25th, 2009 10:31 pm ET

like everyone else, this post misses the obvious fact the Pre is NOT going head-to-head against the iPhone in 2009. AT&T won't be selling the Pre, nor Sprint the iPhone. instead, the Pre is going directly against its fellow Sprint rivals: RIM, Nokia, and Android/WinMobile handsets of whatever brand.

but Palm is very happy to see all this Pre vs. iPhone hype – it's the free advertising it needs badly. hence the June 2 launch date, clearly intended to take advantage of the iPhone mania at Apple's WWDC.

yes, there are some number switchers who will consider both, and in 2010 and beyond the Pre will be more widely available. but Palm has to beat those other Sprint brands in 2009 to just survive until 2010.

nimbus W   May 25th, 2009 11:07 pm ET

No way can I give up the Iphone... too many custom applications that are irreplacable. The palm treo was made cheap and so will the pre.

Hap   May 25th, 2009 11:53 pm ET

iPhone's lack of keyboard and swappable battery are non-starters for me. I will be lining up to get a Pre.

Amit   May 26th, 2009 12:38 am ET

I personally like the iPhone because of the App Store ecosystem, although I can't say that I am addicted to it.

The apps today all live on the internet anyways, so the phone eventually will be just a way to get to those whenever and wherever you want.

I am looking forward for the Pre and maybe even Microsoft's project "Pink", when my iPhone contract is over it is going to be bye bye time mostly.

NoVaCrY   May 26th, 2009 12:51 am ET

I think Palm ignored a pretty good complaint about the iPhone with not being able to use the keyboard for most aps in landscape mode. They chose to go with the narrower keyboard which is just useless for quick texting that a wider keyboard provides. Regardless of how cool the Palm may be, I simply wouldn't buy it cause of the toy keyboard that I would be forced to use. At least Apple has answered the complaint and iPhone 3.0 will allow landscape or portrait typing in all aps. Right out of the gate, Palm goofed on their keyboard imo.

Nathan   May 26th, 2009 1:02 am ET

The I-phone will never be unseated as King. Steve Jobs will soon die a martyr to the cause of better design and the name Apple will be permanently installed in the World psyche as synonymous with the same.

iPhone Addict   May 26th, 2009 1:32 am ET

I too am curious about the Pre but as I currently have an iPhone (and I LOVE it) and plan on buying the newest model rumored to be coming in the next month or two. Even though I'm curious about the Pre and would love to have one as a second phone I think I never will buy one because the simple fact of iTUNES...the music, the video, the APPS!! All right there, at the touch of a button or on my computer...infrastructure is why iPhone will be on top for a while...PERIOD!

Kenneth   May 26th, 2009 1:36 am ET

Why do they even call these trinkets "phones" anymore? Their call quality sucks. And how many more of these twits are going to run into me on the street because they are so engrossed playing Space Invaders on their "phones" that they can't even watch where they are going?

Race   May 26th, 2009 2:07 am ET

I've considered an iPhone for a long time, but it lacks some of the things I really want in a phone – the keyboard being among the most important. I'm someone who will definitely buy the Pre instead of the iPhone.

Brian   May 26th, 2009 2:09 am ET

I look at it like this way it took the introduction to the iPhone to shake up the cell phone industry. Now everybody and their mama what's to be like the iPhone. Every smart since the iPhone's debut has been trying to bite off of its feature set and aesthetic look and appeal. This device call the "Pre" is no different. From the looks of it it's nothing original. It's clearly trying to follow in the foot steps of the iPhone. For the Pre or any other phone that will come out in the future you got a have your own "thing" a fresh innovative way of using this type of device. You cant follow something that has already been done. All you can do is try to improve on what has already been set as the de facto standard in smart phones. Which is currently the Apple iPhone.

Daniel Nagy   May 26th, 2009 3:28 am ET

I was also a long term Treo power user through two generations, but gave it up for an iPhone. The Palm Pre has some good features, but design looks egg-ish and dull. How does one hold the slider open when typing? There is no ground-breaking innovation here, and is going to be very difficult to displace a full-spectrum hand-held computer, game console, and navigator that also happens to communicate.

Jay in Austin   May 26th, 2009 6:56 am ET

Short term? Who cares? Long term? Pre is all hardware – or a virtual dinosaur. Apple is all software – or a virtual mammal. I think you know how that story ended. Sorry. My iPhone is reminding me to make a call at a time I scheduled in my calendar. Gotta go.

Jay in Austin

Bill   May 26th, 2009 7:26 am ET

The iphone is a useless business phone – which is why Blackberry (the forgotten phone that could) is still performing well. When the pre comes out, it will suck from both the iphone and the Blackberry but more so from the latter. Expect iphone sales to shift to pre but still remain dominant – however, the Blackberry will see a major loss in sales to the slicker performing but still business savvy, pre.

KC   May 26th, 2009 2:06 pm ET

I don't think the thunder from the 'Pre' will last long, all the articles about the new device center around the hardware itself, the driving factor these days are the apps, not the device. almost everyone has a touchscreen today, but it's the app stored that makes the IPhone., any contender will have to have great applications.

prenatic (palm pre fanatic)   May 26th, 2009 4:48 pm ET

im so hyped for the palm pre, I am current iphone user but need battery and multitask, im so bored waiting I created a palm pre song
I'm dreaming of a Palm Pre in my hands before Christmas
Just like the other phones that multi-task you know
Where the Synergy glistens,
and to Amazon’s MP3 children listen
To hear clear 3G calls in the snow

I'm dreaming of a Palm Pre in my hands before Christmas
With every Twitter Tweet I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all of you get a Palm Pre on June 6th Night

I'm dreaming of a Palm Pre in my hands before Christmas
With every Twitter Tweet I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all of you get a Palm Pre on June 6th Night

LarryE   May 27th, 2009 11:27 am ET

I agree with Aaron. The Pre will not do well b/c it is handcuffed to Sprint(the worst cell phone company out there). People are leaving Sprint b/c of their bad service and I know many people that will not ever consider a phone(no matter how good it is) if they have to use Sprint.

Joe M.   May 27th, 2009 11:56 am ET

I don't share your enthusiasm for the inductive charger. Here's why. At night, I plug my iPhone into a dock by my bed which, in addition to charging it, connects the audio output to some powered speakers. I can listen to internet radio while going to sleep, and also hear the alarm the next morning over the speakers. I'll stick with the dock, thanks.

tradedate   May 27th, 2009 1:28 pm ET

I disagree with LarryE's comment about Sprint's service. I have had their service for almost 6 yrs now and I have gotten great call quality with them in most places. I've heard from Iphone users that the Iphone is great as a multimedia device, but the phone service is horrible. If the Pre can prove to be as solid a device as the Iphone, and get great phone reception on Sprint, it will be a win for Palm. It won't outsell the Iphone, but it will be successful.

Sarah   May 27th, 2009 3:54 pm ET

AT&T has such poor reception in the Midwest that the Pre would be a better idea here. The iPhone will probably stay big on the coasts but if you have one where I live, you can't get reception hardly anywhere and you'd be crazy to have one. Those who want the iPhone would be smart to get the Pre since Sprint actually has better reception in this chunk of states I call home.

David Brooks   May 27th, 2009 7:16 pm ET

No one has mentioned how much thinner the iPhone is. The Pre looks like a brick in comparison, and I for one really appreciate the thin profile of the iPhone. Plus is has a solid and heavy feel that I doubt the Pre will have.

mathew   May 28th, 2009 11:37 am ET

I have been waiting for some time now for sprint to debut a phone of this magnitude and will be drop my current phone/contract for sprints service; i think it is better that AT&T to begin with anyway.

ceez   May 28th, 2009 5:56 pm ET

I love my iPhone and until it is proven that the Pre is a better device I wouldn't even dream of switching over. I haven't had any issues with the keyboard on my iPhone so that is not a good selling point for me. Also with the Pre having a seperate keyboard I can see that thing breaking or coming off track, the less moving peices on a phone the better. Apple rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

F1 Maniac   May 29th, 2009 4:58 am ET

iPhone all the way!

Anna N   May 30th, 2009 2:20 pm ET

I've had both 1st-gen and 3G iPhones and am greatly looking forward to the Pre. While the iPhone has a lot to like, I think the interesting things the Pre does, like link my Facebook account to my phone, will make it a lot more useful every day. And I don't care about fart apps. ;D

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